The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Rwanda is carrying out a verification exercise in three of its Refugee camps.
The exercise is going on in the Kiziba refugee camp near Kibuye town in the Western province being occupied by18,455 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) , Gihembe camp in the Northern Province and Nyabiheki camp in the Eastern province.
The UNHCR was established in December 1950, by the United Nations General Assembly with the aim of leading and co-odinating international actions that protect and resolve refugee problems.
The organisation strives to ensure that every individual exercises the right to seek asylum and finds safe refuge in any country with a mind of either returning home safely or settling in another country. The organisation operates in more than 110 countries.
JoAnna Pollonais the External Relations Officer said that the main reason why the exercise is being carried out in these three camps is to make sure that the number which is officially registered is the actual figure in the camps, which will help in statistical records and proper handling of the refugees in terms of providing services.
“We want to make sure that the number of refugees in the three camps is exactly what we have on record, as this will help in having a programmatic funding,” says Pollonais.
She further said that it’s possible to have a big number of refugees in a camp yet the number on record is totally different, which is dangerous in that the number will cause under-funding.
The exercise will help the organisation to make a clear program in funding the refugees in that it will avail the correct information hence allocate funds appropriately.
The refugees have stayed in the camps for so long making it hard to figure out when they have either increased or decreased in numbers, Pollonis explained.
Pollonais revealed that the biggest number of refugees received was in early January 2008 at 500 refugees but the average number that is normally received is 100 in a month. She added that the exercise is going on smoothly with no problems so far and it will take a period of one month.
The total number of refugees on record in the three camps where the exercise is being carried-out is 50544 but the total number when considering other camps like Kigembe Camp in the southern province, Nkamira Transit Centre (TC) Nyagatare (TC) camps both in the western province and Kigali (Urban Refugees) in Kigali, it comes to 55244 refugees.